With permission from SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL I’m printing a copy of their review of INTO THE SHADOWLANDS. The review is in their current August issue.
“There’s a little something for everyone here; suspense, adventure, a blossoming romance, and some truly corny humor from a two-headed gargoyle.”
REEG, Cynthia. Into the Shadowlands. 200p. (Monster or Die: Bk. 2). Jolly Fish Pr. Oct. 2017. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781631631344.
Gr 3-5–Being a misfit monster is a serious problem in Uggarland and can eventually lead to exile or even death. Fortunately for Frankenstein (Frank) Gordon and his nonconformist friends, there is an “Odd Monsters Out” class at Fiendful Fiends Academy, where the eccentricities range from a dragon who can’t breathe fire to a vampire who drinks milk. In this second installment of the series, Frank and his friends have just returned from a daring rescue of two misfits from exile but soon find themselves in another deadly situation. Their class is sent on a scavenger hunt to the Shadowlands, the treacherous divide between Uggarland and the human world, which is full of dangerous animals and malevolent spirits. To make matters worse, Frank’s nemesis, the troll Malcolm McNastee, has been assigned to chaperone the group. Malcolm reviles all misfits and has a very personal reason for hating Frank above all others. There’s a little something for everyone here; suspense, adventure, a blossoming romance, and some truly corny humor from a two-headed gargoyle. VERDICT An approachable read for fans of adventure/fantasy and humor in a school setting. While feasible as a stand-alone, it is optimal to have read the first installment.–Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, MI
Mystery, Suspense, and Brotherly Love Add Up to Intriguing Middle Grade Historical Fiction
I had the privilege to read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this story by one of my favorite current historical fiction authors, Caroline Starr Rose. It’s the summer of 1897 when news of the Klondike gold rush finally reaches Washington state, where Jasper and his older brother Melvin live. Both are eager to escape a dysfunctional home. After their beloved mother died from influenza, their father has become a drunk. Lured by stories of instant wealth and grand adventure, Melvin sneaks away to seek his fortune, but Jasper soon catches up to him. The boys quickly encounter dangers along the way, losing all their money and supplies. Still they refuse to give up, even if it means teaming up with a less-than-desirable crew like the Therouxs to navigate the Klondike trek or scrubbing laundry to earn a little money. Outlaws like Frank Hazard also pose a major problem, especially for inquisitive Jasper. When Jasper finally uncovers the location of the elusive Riley’s Mine (whose legend claims that it holds wealth for whoever can find it), Hazard forces Jasper to show him the mine and nearly kills Jasper in the process. Rescue and revelations come with the story’s exciting climax. This is a historical adventure that is sure to keep middle grade readers entranced, as they try to solve the riddle and spur Jasper on. The story showcases strong young characters faced with numerous challenges. They discover the true meaning of “wealth.” The brothers maintain their ties and commitment to each other. They also demonstrate generosity toward others along the way. While the story has its sad elements, fortitude and resolve prevail in the brother’s quest to find their way in the world.
What a wonderful present this would make for a young reader! Coming February 2017–but you can pre-order now!
Don’t miss the chance to win some great prizes!
It’s Time to Pre-Order Jasper! Two Exciting Giveaways – Caroline Starr Rose
The Gang from Fiendful Fiends Academy
wants to wish you a monstrously fun time on this Halloween!
And they’d like to share another great review of FROM THE GRAVE. This review comes from Kathleen Burkinshaw, author of THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM (Sky Pony Press).
I loved my visit to Uggarland!
From the moment I read Monster Rule #9 “A monster’s appearance should incite fear and significant revulsion to scare the socks off mere humans.”, I knew I would enjoy this book!
But this is not just a humorous story. I loved the heart it had. Frankie is not quite sure how to answer a questions that we all have wondered as humans-Does he fit in? Monsters, like Malcolm have judged Frankie and his friends to be strange since they do not quite fit the “monster” description.
Although as much as Malcolm may tease Frankie and his friends mercilessly, things are not what they seem on the outside for Malcolm either.
I really loved the connection that Frankie had with his Grannie Bubbie and how her love for him lived on in his heart and “a bit of her magic coursed through his misfit hide.”
As worrisome events unfold with the visit to Exxillium, the friendship that Frankie and Oliver form with two others deemed misfits- Vanya and Georgina strengthens their resolve to Keep calm and monster on. But in order to do that, they must decide what is the “right way” to be a monster and whether they can be happy and proud of themselves if they conform to the monster edict. Or will they be able to prove that they already are more than monster enough?
Some great descriptive phrases, such as:
“My neck bolts sent a steady hum pulsing through my body.”
“Last night when I peeked out my cobwebbed window to spy on the demons, I’d seen a bat flying upside down.A bad omen for sure.
“The swirling gust stirred up a powerful aroma of decay and dread.”
Pictures from My Author Visit to Immacolata School